Sunday, February 12, 2012

Gardening by Accident

Sometimes the nicest gardens happen by accident, not by design. Here in Arizona, the high temperatures and low humidity murder plants faster than you can pot them or plant them. Instead of the lush, emerald lawns you see back east, we use gravel, rocks and fallen cactus or mesquite.

Our big Cereus peruvianus cactus is the most successful plant in our front yard, besides the palms. I took photos earlier this year, when it was in full bloom, and posted them at Trifter. Two days ago a few old branches broke off, and three Cereus buds fell with them. I tossed one bud into the big terra cotta pot with our potted Cereus, and planted the other two buds. They look like they are going to take, and the smallest one even has a flower bud on it.

Cereus peruvianus by Jack V. Sage, 2012

Cereus peruvianus by Jack V. Sage, 2012

Despite the fact that we usually burn or pull the weeds, a little orange daisy popped up. I doubt that it will last long, but it adds a touch of flame to our front lawn.

Flame daisy by Jack V. Sage, 2012

I planted some garlic bulbs that I bought at Ranch Market about a week ago in 2-liter soda bottles, and they are now 15 inches tall. I also planted some Roma tomato seeds. I now have 11 healthy garlic plants and 6 Roma plants. I cut the tops off each bottle at the shoulder, then filled the bottles about 2/3 with shredded, crumpled newspaper. Then I added enough potting soil to make the newspaper "disappear" all the way around the sides. The newspaper serves as a wick between the bottom of the bottles and the roots of the plants, while the bottom of each bottle forms an oasis.

I watered each plant just enough to fill the bumps in the bottom of the soda bottles, adding water only every third day or so. It took about four weeks for the seeds to sprout. Once they have their second set of leaves, I will transplant them outside.

Garlic by Jack V. Sage, 2012

Roma tomatoes by Jack V. Sage, 2012

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